After studying literature, Balázs Solti decided to follow his heart and began working as a freelance illustrator. The self-taught Hungarian artist combines traditional mediums like acrylic paint and pencil with digital processes to create anything from boxing pandas to Soviet lions. We sat down with him over a glass of water to learn more about his creative process.
What’s your favourite drink at Happy Hour?
Water. I don’t drink alcohol anymore. I’d had enough. But beer used to be my favourite drink before I went teetotal.
You’re Hungarian and have a degree in Russian language and literature. How does your background influence your work?
That’s hard to say really. To be honest, it’s up to the audience to tell if there are any signs in my artworks that refer to this background. But in my opinion, my background doesn't really make any difference anyway in a globalised world.
Talk us through your creative process—how does a design take shape from start to finish?
It’s quite simple really. I have an idea in my mind, I start drawing it and then I just let the image create itself.
While your pandas convey expressions of love, your lions omit a sense of pride. Tell us a little bit about the characters you create.
I think each animal has its own emotional expression. I just try to bring them out visually.
If you were to morph into an animal, what would you become and why?
I would be a dog because that would be very similar to human life.
Of the designs you sell at JUNIQE, which is your personal favourite and why?
I love all of them equally. There is no favourite. But if I had to choose one, it’d have to be "All You Need is Love", the one with the panda making a heart with his paws. That’s my most popular design.
What music are you currently listening to on high rotation?
The Trainspotting 2 soundtrack. It’s full of all my old favourites from the ‘90s.
Pandas or lions?